• Created by: Q_
  • Created on: 09-06-19 19:34
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  • Is conservatism merely the politics of pragmatism?
    • NO
      • Traditional conservatism is based on philosophically contentious assertions (e.g. slow change is preferable to radical change and that 'vision' and 'principle' are inferior to 'tradition' and 'evidence').
      • Traditional conservatism does not reject revolution merely as a method of change; it does so to protect a society based on certain principles, such as hierarchy, inequality and private property.
      • As a result, socialists see conservatism as 'ruling-class ideology', a changing set of biased policies, reflecting the evolving tactics of elites determined to preserve their privilege.
      • Oakeshott described traditional conservatism as 'a psychology rather than an ideology', drawing upon humanity's 'instinctive love of the familiar'. Conservatives may reject 'pragmatic' change if it conflicts with their instincts and emotions.
      • New Right conservatism draws upon the Neo-liberal doctrines of philosophers like Hayek and Nozick, while New Right politicians, such as Thatcher, proclaimed themselves 'conviction politicians'.
    • YES
      • Traditional conservatives have consistently advocated an 'empirical' approach to politics, one based on 'what is', not 'what should be'.
      • Traditional conservatism prides itself on 'flexibility'.This has helped conservatism endure several centuries of dramatic change.
      • Conservative pragmatism is shown by the different policies adopted by various conservatives at different times. Robert Peel, for example, supported laissez-faire capitalism, while Harold Macmillan backed a more Keynesian(interventionist) approach.
      • Michael Oakeshott argued that conservatism is a short-term 'getting by' approach to politics - it has no long-term objectives concerning society and the economy.


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